Oct. 10, 2012
By Lauren McMillin
Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations
People don’t always like change. In fact, it can completely alter a person’s plans and lead them down a new, unexpected path. By embracing change, however, one learns that change can be for the better. For Randall Mackey, change is a concept that he has learned to accept, turning adjustments both on and off the field into an opportunity for greatness.
Mackey’s desire to play football began at a young age as he watched his athletic older brother, Josh.
“I always wanted to play football because of him,” Mackey said. “Seeing him doing everything on the field, breaking long runs and playing cornerback. He played both ways, offense and defense, so I just wanted to be like him.”
Playing multiple positions, however, was something that Mackey wouldn’t see until later in his career. Mackey spent two years at East Mississippi Community College before enrolling at Ole Miss, but he always knew that he would join the Rebels.
“I was committed to Ole Miss coming out of high school,” he said. “It was the only big school that gave me a shot. I just wanted to stay committed to Ole Miss. I went to JUCO for two years, and I told them I was coming here.”
Adjusting to an SEC school from a junior college was a change that Mackey had to face right away.
“You’ve got to learn fast,” he said. “There are some big, grown men here in the SEC. The difference is the speed of the game and the tempo. Everything’s much faster from JUCO to college. You’ve got to get your body ready and your mind ready for a battle every Saturday.”
Adapting to life at Ole Miss is not a journey that Mackey had to make on his own, though. Having the support of fans has helped him find a home at Ole Miss and in Oxford.
“I like the fans,” Mackey said. “All the fans from the student body, everybody in the community. I love going to school here. It’s a good place to get an education.”
After spending his first year with the Rebels as a quarterback, Mackey made the transition last spring to running back and receiver, turning him into a triple threat for the Rebels. Learning new techniques has presented a challenge, but Mackey has been able to use his knowledge as a quarterback to adjust to his new positions.
“Playing quarterback has helped a lot. Being a quarterback, you basically know everything about the offense, so that helped with the transition.”
Understanding multiple positions has allowed Mackey to know the advantages of each one, bringing him enjoyment no matter where he lines up on the field.
“What I like about receiver, you catch long bombs, touchdowns, all that exciting stuff,” he said. “Running back, you can break a long run, get the crowd pumped. Quarterback, you can throw a bomb. I like doing all of them, personally.”
Between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Mackey has seen success at all three positions on the field. In 2011, he had six starts at quarterback, passing for 1,112 yards with seven touchdowns and gained 180 yards rushing. This season, he has rushed for 186 yards with two touchdowns, passed for 34 yards, and tallied 50 receiving yards, in helping the Rebels to a 3-1 start.
The amount of change that Mackey has seen over the past few years has taught him valuable life lessons, both on and off the field.
“I had to change my attitude, my character,” he said. “What I was doing at first, wasn’t putting me in the right spot, so I had to change of myself, for Ole Miss and for my family.”
Mackey looks toward the future, believing that his versatility on the field will increase his chances of playing professional football.
“It enhances it a lot,” Mackey said. “It shows scouts that I can play running back, receiver and quarterback. I think it boosts my position a lot.”
Having already earned a degree in criminal justice, Mackey has options for the future. “Hopefully I’ll make it to the pros,” he said. “That’s a blessing right there. If not, I want to stay in school and get my masters degree.”
Mackey is a great example of how positive results can come out of change. He is enjoying the positions of running back and wide receiver so much that he even wishes he could have started playing them earlier. Regardless, he knows that the future is where his focus needs to be.
“I can’t change the past. The only thing I can do now is move forward,” he said.